Happy National Paella Day – we’re having a paella party!
As one of the world’s most popular dishes, it’s no surprise that there are as many variations of paella as there are chefs, with several claiming their recipe is the best or most authentic. Regardless of style or flavor profile, Valencia, Spain’s largest rice-producing area, remains the birthplace of this celebrated dish.
The paella pan is characterized by being round with a flat bottom and an ever changing diameter. Sizes range in size from 12-inches to several feet in diameter; however, the one element that doesn’t change is the height. This remains two-inches deep to help achieve the prime conditions for formation of the rice crust, or Socorrat, which is the toasted and crispy rice at the bottom of the dish.
There are many, many paella recipes. The traditional Valencia dish was made using chicken, rabbit, snails and three kinds of fresh beans. Today, paella is almost always associated with seafood, chicken and spices of saffron, garlic, and paprika. Paella ingredients vary from place to place and local traditions, but the dish is always eaten right out of the pan starting at the perimeter and working toward the center of the dish. Anything from fresh garden produce to holiday left-overs can inspire a cook to create an original version of this one-dish feast.
For some National Paella Day inspiration, check out FOOD & WINE’s 5 Recipes including a Spring-Vegetable, Smoky Paella with Shrimp and Squid, Paella Valenciana, Chicken-and-Seafood Paella, and a Grilled Seafood Paella.
One thing paella lovers everywhere agree on is that Spanish wine is the perfect pairing for paellas of all kinds. Valencian paellas are traditionally paired with aged whites like Godello, a white Rioja (Vuira blend) or Garnacha Blanca, while paella from the interior of Spain is traditionally paired with Garnacha or Monastrell. Many people find a Tempranillo, whether from Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Toro or elsewhere is the perfect pairing. And there are even those who believe a zesty Cava is the wine to choose.
Whatever it is you decide on opening, celebrate #NationalPaellaDay with a wine that embodies the rich culinary and viticultural history of Spain. Salud!